The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that electricity provider Locality Planning Energy Pty Ltd (LPE) has paid a penalty of $10,500 after it was issued with an infringement notice for an alleged contravention of the Electricity Retail Code.
This represents the first enforcement action taken by the ACCC for an alleged breach of the Electricity Retail Code.
The Competition and Consumer (Industry Code—Electricity Retail) Regulations 2019 (the Code) applies to all electricity retailers that supply to small customers in the applicable distribution regions of New South Wales, South Australia and south-east Queensland. You can read more about the Code on Law Quarter’s website here.
The Code sets a cap on standing offer prices and specifies how prices and discounts must be advertised, published or offered. The Code was introduced in July 2019 with the objective of reducing confusion and making it easier for consumers to compare retail electricity offers.
It was alleged that LPE failed to:
- compare its offered price to the reference price, which is the benchmark price set by the government;
- display the total amount a customer consuming an average amount of electricity would need to pay in a year based on the offered price; and
- display the distribution region and type of small customer to witch that offer applied.
An example of the advertising in question was published by the ACCC in its notice and is below: